Lancaster Music Co-op's future secured by council deal

The future of a music co-operative has been secured after it signed a "momentous" deal with the city council.

Lancaster Music Co-op (LMC), which started in 1985, said Lancaster City Council had signed a 99-year lease for its base on Lodge Street and provided a grant to help fund essential repairs to the building.

The venue has been closed since 2021 after the building was declared unsafe.

The LMC's Holly Blackwell said it was "absolutely joyous" news for the city.

A wide range of musicians have used the LMC's facilities to rehearse and record since it was started when a group of students at Lancaster University who were unable to find anywhere to practice opened up their studios.

Keyboard player Mark Hunter, who was formerly a member of the band James, and Paul 'The Rev' James, who played with Towers of London and The Prodigy, are two of the musicians to have used it over the years, alongside Blackwell's own band The Lovely Eggs.

She said the signing of the lease was "a totally momentous occasion for Lancaster Music Co-op and for future generations of musicians in the city", adding that they were all "absolutely joyous" to secure its future after trying to get a long-term lease for more than 20 years and having been at threat of eviction in 2018.

She said repairs to the building, which will include a new roof, were due to start in October and it was hoped the facility would reopen in 2024.

"Since it closed, it has impacted on the music scene in the city," she said.

"It just feels amazing to be able to finally start work on repairs... and getting it back up and running for all the bands and musicians across the Lancaster district and beyond.

"We've still got lot of hard work ahead of us, but we're up for it."

Nick Wilkinson, Lancaster City Council's cabinet member for regeneration and skills, said the co-op had been a "vital resource" for more than 30 years.

"The signing of the lease agreement has been a long time coming and helps to ensure the future of the Co-op, placing the organisation on a secure footing so it can continue to play its important role in our cultural offer," he added.

Why not follow BBC North West on Facebook, X and Instagram? You can also send story ideas to